Thesis: Evolution of structure-function relationships in the shoot apex
Margaret Frank is pursuing her PhD in Professor Mike Scanlon's lab. Her thesis project is to compare gene expression patterns across structurally and evolutionarily diverse shoot meristems. The shoot meristem is a pluripotent population of cells that gives rise to the entire aboveground portion of plants. Shoot meristems vary tremendously in their size and structure across land plant lineages. Margaret is using a technique called laser microdissection to isolate the RNA and generate transcriptomes for individual meristem cells from structurally diverse model plants. The end goal of her project is to identify gene families that are widely used in meristem development across diverse species as well as genes that are uniquely expressed within each of the individual species. She is currently working on cross-species comparisons of her meristem specific transcriptomes.
Margaret graduated from Barnard College with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and worked for a year as a research assistant at the Arnold Arboretum before starting her PhD at Cornell in 2008.